REFILE-WRAPUP-S.Korean millers suspend US wheat imports as GM concerns fester

Fri May 31, 2013 9:28am EDT
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* S.Korean imports on hold until test results next week

* Other Asian nations step up inspections

* U.S. says no evidence rogue grain has entered supply chain

* Aus supply would struggle to soak up extra demand

By Meeyoung Cho

Seoul, May 31 (Reuters) - South Korean millers suspended imports of U.S. wheat on Friday and some Asian countries stepped up inspections after the discovery of an unapproved strain of genetically modified wheat in the United States, but stopped short of imposing import bans.

U.S. officials are racing to quash global alarm in the wake of news the strain of wheat, developed by biotech giant Monsanto Co, had been found in an Oregon field late last month. The discovery has already prompted major buyer Japan to cancel plans to buy U.S. wheat while the European Union said it would step up tests.

South Korea - which last year sourced roughly half of its total wheat imports of 5 million tonnes from the U.S. - has also raised quarantine measures on U.S. feed wheat, while Thailand put ports on alert.   Continued...